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A mini Mewlon

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I have gone and collected a beautiful 7" dall-kirkham from a lovely chap in Suffolk today. I have been hankering after my own longer focal length scope for a while after borrowing various C8s, RC6s and using my local societies and friend's SCTs, but I now have something rather special all to myself.

Short cooldown as there is no corrector. Minimal dew issues as there is no corrector. High class optics as it is a Takahashi! A discontinued Mewlon 180 to be precise.

This is a specialised scope for me and will serve 3 main purposes. Planetary viewing/imaging. Double and variable star observations and imaging and finally to take my spectroscopy up a notch from simple StarAnalyser images using my ED80. I could not be happier.

I has come with a Moonlite focuser, which simply adds to the serious feel of this rather delightful scope. I love the holder which is in fact the finder as well. I just hope I can get it outside soon and do it some justice.




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Thanks Chris/Rob. Feel like a serious step forward for me today!

Another reason for this purchase is that I can make the most out of the short windows we seem to be allowed these days. Trying to get DSO images is brutal at the moment, so this allows me to just get out there doing stuff.

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I managed a proper first light last night with the Mewlon. I had a little go at some white light solar film the previous day, which didn't go well for reasons which became clear last night.

The scope itself is extremely easy to carry about and mount. The handle is solid and the weight minimal, so moving this inside and out is a breeze. One hand is all that is required to keep it firm whilst the other tightens. The whole scope just feels solid.

First issue I found was that my synscan handset is kaput. It has not been used for months, so I went back to the laptop. Not ideal for visual, but so be it for now. I rely on plate-solving for alignment, and with no option for this, I was going to rely on manually getting things centred. It turns out this was not as troublesome as I feared.

First up was Betelgeuse to get aligned. I decided to try out my Hyperion Zoom, which struggles in my 250px, but should be great for the Mewlon. I slotted in a 2" diagonal and straight away found out that my new scope has an extremely close in focus point. I had to wind the coarse focuser all the way in and then the Moonlite all the way in and the image was still just out of focus for the Hyperion. I know that the zoom has a very different focus point than my other EPs, so I put in a MaxVision 28 and to my immense relief, managed to move focus through the focus and beyond (just). A 1.25" diagonal for this might be a prudent idea and to leave the 2" EPs for the Dob.

The views through my MV were excellent. More than excellent in fact. The sky appeared much darker than in my Dob and the stars much tighter and I could see the multiple diffraction spikes on Betelgeuse, as the Mewlon has 3 spider vanes, so 6 spikes. I couldn't resist a wide field view of M42 while I was in the area and was treated to the best view I have ever had of it. The breadth of the nebula was much wider and I could discerns waves of detail in tendrils, fascinating. The central stars pin point. I tried a variety of EPs, from a Morpheus 14, Radian 10 and SLV 6 and the MV28 was easily the most satisfying. The edges were noticeably soft, but the central portion was better than anything I have seen with my own eyes. Very happy. I now know what an airy disk is. The scope had been well collimated and was keeping it. The finder was also bang on the money, although I struggled to see the non illuminated reticule lines through it on the darker areas of sky.

I then tried a few big bright doubles, Cor Caroli, Castor, Regulus and am happy to report that one of the main reasons I bought this scope for has delivered for me. They were beautiful. It is difficult to explain why small dots of light closer to each other should appeal so much and cause such an emotive response, but the tiny little separated dots did just that. I then cast an eye over Jupiter. It might just have been the conditions, but again, I have seen it bigger, and possibly seen more detail, but the contrast and steadiness of the image was captivating. I would have loved to have seen the double transit later in the evening, but the clouds had other ideas.

Some things to be mindful of though. The finder dewed up pretty quickly. The chap I got the scope off did have a home made dew shield for it. I will remember to use it next time. By the end, the primary had dewed slightly too and the scope was very wet overall, so I need to be slightly careful and might look into a dew shield to fit over the end, although I did not notice anything during the actual session itself. To summarise my visual, this is a magnificent narrow field scope, and used in this way, it delivers more than I had expected.

I took some images as well, a quick RGB one of Jupiter at native focal length using an ASI120M and then some star system images with an Atik 414ex, the one posted here being Regulus. Finding the targets and sticking them on tiny chips was not as painful as one might have imagined with a spot on finder and a nicely placed EP position (newt take note!).




The scope seems almost spot on with collimation. The 10 o'clock star is it is an actual double itself (Sun sized star and a red dwarf) orbiting Regulus which may explain the bulge, so a multiple star system (also think there is a spectroscopic binary with Regulus itself!). You can see how the image tends to degrade as the field of view increases. 



All in all, one of the most enjoyable sessions in ages, mixing various imaging types and lots of observing, which tends to get a back seat when I am at home, and I am glad to say I think this scope will change all that.




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